I grew up with practical parents. A father who was happier making things in his shop rather than buying new things except for his six kids. A father who lost his wife and yet tried his best to do it all for his children. He later married my mother and adopted me. A finer father would be difficult to match, but he did the right thing for his family. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen before they had a name for it.
Their marriage was tough with many of the children not much older than my mom, but their dreams stayed focused, and they raised a family to be proud of. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt, designing and making a new fishing reel he would test and sell to the sporting goods store. He taught us how to fix our cars, how to camp and fish, and how to fix things when all seemed lost. And Mom in a house dress, a working assignment list in one hand, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen meal, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress, sewing up socks, and making certain everyone was together, safe and healthy. Things we keep.
It was a way of life, and sometimes it made all of us crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there’d always be more.
Most of us grew up, married and moved from home except for my younger sister. But then my father died, and on a cold fall evening, we all found our way home to wish him well as he was gathered back to his people and entered his eternity. My mother buckled down, raised my sister, and she too passed from this portion of life into her eternity. And again on that clear fall night, in the warmth of her room she died with a soft smile on her face. I was struck with the pain of losing her tenderness, but learning that now there isn’t any more for her to mend or broken things to fix.
Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away…never to return… So… While we have it….. it’s best we love it…. And care for it… And fix it when it’s broken……… And heal it when it’s sick.
This is true. For marriage……. And old cars….. And children with bad report cards…. And dogs with bad hips…. And aging parents…… And grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.
There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special…….. And so, we keep them close within our heart. And when faced with a struggle, a loss, a broken heart, things that are worn or broken, I remember the lessons passed down to us on fixing things up rather than tossing them aside.
During my passage, there have been many lessons pushed aside for one reason or another. But while I’m able, for your sake, please consider that is is easier to fix things than starting over with a new set of problems.